News brief: Supervised virtual program invites students into the building

By Lilli Bresnahan, News Editor

Although all Maine South students will be experiencing a hybrid schedule beginning Nov. 9, there are already students in school as part of the “supervised virtual” program. 

The students who have been part of the supervised virtual program come from a variety of backgrounds and have come in on an invitation basis.” Assistant Principal of Student Supports Mr. Drew Eder said “The Student Service Teams have reached out to students when they are made aware of particular students who they believe would benefit from the program. After the first week, we had about 20 students attending the program, and we hope to expand that closer to 40 by the end of this week.”  Continue reading

The federal government failed to protect us against coronavirus

Illustration by Ana Zrnic

By Darin Cheng, Commentary Editor

While other countries resume their normal day to day operations, the United States still undergoes its first surge of COVID-19. We, as citizens, have experienced and adapted to new economic, environmental, political, and social paradigms. However, we also have experienced and failed to adapt to a plethora of problems; these problems stem from one primary perpetrator: the federal government.

The resurgence of cases in our country this summer has shown the failure of the federal government in promptly developing an effective strategy to maintain the wellbeing of the citizens. Their disagreed upon, disorganized, and misinformed response has set a firm precedent for steps to steer clear of in a future pandemic.   Continue reading

The federal government has worked to protect us against coronavirus

Illustration by Ana Zrnic

By Adam Ferraro, Commentary Editor

As Covid-19 rages on throughout the US and the rest of the world, many are left wondering–what has our government been doing? It’s an easy question to ask, as often all we see in the media are videos of irate anti-maskers or more news of an extension to our already indefinite lockdown. 

From a media standpoint, our government has not reassured us that it knows what it’s doing, is sure of its next move, or is even taking the situation seriously at all. That can be attributed to the very questionable statements often made by our Commander-in-Chief.  Continue reading

Google Meet-bombing incidents affirm the need to address racial inclusivity

By Lily Niziolek and Elizabeth Ryser, Features Editors

Over the last few months, issues of racism have taken center stage, as events like the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have provided evidence of systemic racism in America. To address this major concern in our society, schools like Maine South have been working to increase inclusivity. With the implementation of virtual classes, however, video conferencing inadvertently opened the doors to some of the societal injustices that the school seeks to protect students from.

Illustration by Isabel Gibson

Within the first week of school, there were multiple instances of “Zoom-bombing,” where uninvited people gained access to remote class meetings. Some of these intrusions included racially discriminatory language, leaving teachers scrambling to provide a more secure learning environment. Continue reading

Maine South welcomes new teachers and administrators

From left to right, top to bottom: Ms. Natalie Wilbur, Mr. Andrew Eder, Ms. Jennifer Korbar, Ms. Erica Tuke, Ms. Zanfina Muja, Ms. Carly Tindall-Biggins, Ms. Megan Palm, Dr. Iris Smith, Ms. Kyleen, Coia, Ms. Jennifer Weber, Ms. Alyssa Hayden, and Mr. Matt Ryder. (Photo illustration by Isabel Gibson)

By Lilli Bresnahan, News Editor Continue reading

Remote learning environment poses new challenges for Maine South students

Senior Tara Murphy prepares a mock grocery store lesson for her Special Education students. Unable to go on typical field trips this year, the Special Education department has to be creative when it comes to lesson planning. (Photo by Natalia Kuppers)

By Amalia Laskaris and Kristen Meyer, Editors-in-chief

In each of the past four years, Maine South has implemented a different daily schedule with high aspirations that students would reap the benefits of these changes. This year is no different with the virtual learning schedule. Beginning with a shortened eight-period Monday schedule, and continuing with a four-period block schedule Tuesday through Friday, students spend their whole week in the online learning environment. 

“I find it more difficult to understand what I am being taught during e-learning, but it gets even harder when I face Wi-Fi difficulties,” senior Cailee Oslowski said. “It makes me feel even more stressed and confused since all my attention is fixed on trying to fix the Wi-Fi.” Continue reading

Parents and students rally for in-person learning

Parents and students hold signs calling for more in-person learning and parent input in school decisions at a rally at Hodges Park on Oct. 1. (Photo by Isabel Gibson)

By Kristen Meyer, Editor-in-chief

D64 and D207 parents and students gathered to urge the districts to return to in-person learning during a rally at Hodges Park on Oct. 1. 

The rally was organized by the “Return to In Person Learning – D64 and D207” Facebook group. Over 50 parents and students braved the rain to publicly call for a full and safe return to school, citing a frustration with a lack of parent voice in decisions and an overall deterioration of learning. Continue reading

Fall play ‘The Dream of the Burning Boy’ presented online Oct. 1, 2, and 3

Film teacher Mason Strom, senior Ellie Compton, and Technical Director Patrick Sanchez (left to right) set up cameras and lights for the first day of filming the fall play. (Photo by Aly Trunzo)

By Jenna Marchuk and Andrea Smith, Entertainment Editors

This year’s fall play, “The Dream of the Burning Boy,” will be unlike any other in the history of Maine South, as it is the first one to be performed without a live audience. 

Because the play will be recorded and viewed by an audience outside of the school, the production process was very different from years past. 

“The process of this Fall Play has been very different from anything I’ve ever experienced, and I think my castmates would agree,” said junior Taylor Truckenbrod, who plays the character Chelsea in the play.  Continue reading

In-person learning opportunities to increase as reopening plan continues

By Jessie Beck, Editorial Assistant

District 207 has faced several challenges related to COVID-19 and virtual learning in navigating the beginning of this school year. Administration has had to balance the needs of students, staff, and families in many regards–physical and mental health and safety, meal distribution, academic support, extracurricular opportunities, post-high school planning support, and more. 

At the beginning of the school year, increasing COVID-19 cases regionally and statewide, cases among students and staff, lack of student access to PACE bus transportation services, and unavailability of staff and substitute teachers for in-person instruction all posed challenges for an in-person start to school. Given all of these factors, District 207 made the decision to begin the year with remote learning for the first quarter, while gradually working to get students in the building safely.  Continue reading

Safe start to in-school learning is possible if we learn from the past

Editorial cartoon by Ana Zrnic

by the Southwords Editorial Board

With elevated COVID-19 cases in the community and concern for the safety of students, Maine South delayed plans to begin the 2020-2021 school year with a hybrid schedule and instead implemented remote learning until the health risks are reassessed as the school year progresses. Despite the uncertainty, an in-person freshman orientation week with numerous social distancing measures was held from Aug. 17 to 21, from which a lot can be learned about keeping students and staff safe while maintaining an instructive and somewhat normal high school experience. 

Ultimately, although in-person instruction may be the best educational delivery format and allows for vitally important social interaction, it cannot resume until safety precautions can be executed fully. We must learn from the gradual return of certain activities in order to properly move forward with in-person instruction.  Continue reading